Identifying the hotspots

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Everyone agrees that customer experience is important. However, delivering a great customer experience is hard. Generally the customer experience covers the whole business and crosses all departments. We need tools that help us prioritise and discover where to act to really make a difference. We need to identify hotspots.

Hotspots point the way to improvements
Hotspots are points in a service – in an experience – that can be identified as clear opportunities for improvement. Improvement of the particular experience or even of the commercial effectiveness of a business. A hotspot can be a point in the customer lifecycle where an improvement will dramatically increase customer satisfaction or where the business can improve performance.

The customer experience – it is worth doing it well
A customer experience cannot be perfect, but it can be better. And a better customer experience usually has a positive business impact.

The customer experience refers to the whole experience of customers with a business – from awareness to life-long loyalty. The points where customers interact with a business can be countless. It is hard to resolve all gaps in customer interactions in one go. We must understand the bigger picture and then zoom into specific points of intervention – hotspots – that have an impact on the experience and the business.

The 80/20 rule – focus on 80% of customers
The first principle in defining hotspots is the 80/20 rule. Some issues might cause negative experiences but only impact a small number of customers. Other problems may seem minor at first sight but impact a large number of customers. Look for issues in stages in the experience that all or most customers go through and improve them. In many businesses, all customers experience a contract, bill or service renewal. Focus on getting these spots – experiences – right!

Are you irritating the customer or the user?
Some irritations experienced by customers have significant business consequences, others do not. Identifying hotspots is about identifying the issues that matter. Often this means differentiating the customers from the users. Take a hotel. The customer books and pays the bill, the user sleeps in the bed and takes a shower. Irritate the customer and they may well switch, reduce their custom or not buy in the first place. Irritate the user and it is less likely that this will have a business consequence unless severe.

Can you act on the information?
Some customer experience issues are too hard to fix. This may be due to technical, political or legal constraints. Thorough analysis of identified hotspot considers these constraints by asking what the cost for improvement is. When acting on a structural issue does not make business sense, it is usually better to acknowledge the problem with the customer. Be human, apologise and offer support to help mitigate the irritation.

Identify hotspots to drive a focus on customer value
Hotspots identify issues and then quantify them. A ‘hotspots approach’ ensures the business knows where the customer issue occurs. This approach also reveals which interactions are opportunities for improvement. Some issues may be obvious but hard to make an impact on. Others may be easy to fix and have a high potential. Hotspots turn problems into opportunities.

Melvin Brand Flu
Melvin Brand Flu is an author, business, and strategy consultant with over 30 years of experience working for startups to global brands and governments. He advises management and leads projects on the cutting edge of business and technical innovation in industries ranging from telecommunication and financial services to the public sector and insurance.

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